Dear Friends, Peace and New Life to you in the Risen Christ, our God and Lord!
Hopefully, our Lenten resolutions, prayers and sacrifices did help us to leave behind the darkness of our lives and be ready to experience New Life and, thus, be able to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord with minds and hearts renewed and transformed. St. Paul reminds us that if Jesus had not been risen from the dead, our faith would have been in vain and scarce our hope (1 Cor. 15:1). This is why the Resurrection of Jesus is the most important mystery of our Christian faith. Therefore, our Easter Sunday celebration becomes the most solemn and the greatest in our liturgical calendar.
St. Augustine taught us that in the Resurrection it was not only Jesus who went from death to life, but we also go from death to life with Him, because the Church, the Body of Christ, which means all of us Christians, awaits the divine participation of the victory over death. This was a triumph already manifested in the corporal resurrection of Jesus (Letter 55,2). With the fact of being born, living, and dying, Jesus was aiming and looking at the Resurrection, by which He established the limits of our faith. Humanity only used to know two things: to be born and to die. So, to teach us what we did not know, Christ Jesus took what we did know (sermon 229 H,1). Therefore, if our faith in the Resurrection was eliminated, all Christian teachings will be ended. If the dead do not resurrect, then there is no future life at all (sermon 361,2).
St. Thomas Aquinas used to say that “Christ proved his Resurrection in three ways: through sight, physical contact and taste. Through sight when He said: “Look at my hands and my feet” (Lk 34:39); through contact when He said: “Touch and see, a spirit does not have flesh;” through taste when He asked his Apostles: “Have you there something to eat?” His Apostles were ocular witnesses of the Risen Lord; they saw him, they touched Him and they shared meals with Him, an experience that renewed them and transformed them forever.
Pope St. John XXIII used to say that Easter for everybody is to die to sin, to die to disordered passions, to hatred, to feuds and bad companies, to die to everything that takes us out of balance, to die to bitterness and torture both spiritually and materially. This death is, in fact, only the first step towards a superior goal: our Easter celebration is also a mystery of life” (homily, 1959).
Pope St. John Paul II also shared with us that, in the difficult moments of our lives, we should remember the words of Jesus who said: “I am with you every day until the end of the world” (Mt, 29:20). This way, convinced of his presence, we will not be afraid because his Word will always give us light; His Blood and His Body will be our nourishment and strength on our way to eternal life. And our Blessed Mother Mary will guide us in the knowledge of the mysteries of Christ. In the same way that with her and in her we comprehend the meaning of the Cross, in her and with Her we will be able to capture the meaning of the Resurrection, savoring the joy that comes from that experience.
Mary Magdalene was the first person who discovered the empty tomb, and even though she was afraid, she also shared with the Risen Lord and became a faithful disciple and an evangelizer of His gospel message for the rest of her life. Dear friends, after all this, what about us today? Is there anything left for us? Yes, of course, everything! Our Risen Lord is with us until the end of our days as He promised. Have we opened our wills and hearts to welcome Him?
As St. Gregory of Nyssa used to say, with the Resurrection of Jesus, “The reign of life has begun, the tyranny of death is ended! A new birth has taken place, a new life has come, a new order of existence has appeared, our very nature has been transformed! This birth is not brought about by human generation, by the will of humankind, or by the desire of the flesh, but by God!”
This New Life in the Risen Lord is described by St. Gregory of Nyssa with these amazing words: “Faith is the womb that conceives this New Life, Baptism is the rebirth by which it is brought forth into the light of day. The Church is its nurse, and her teachings are its milk; the Bread from Heaven is its food. It is brought to maturity by the practice of virtue; it is wedded to wisdom; it gives birth to hope. Its home is the kingdom; its rich inheritance is the joy of paradise; its end, not death but the blessed and everlasting life prepared for those who are worthy.” Wow, what a beautiful way to speak!
In closing, St. Gregory of Nyssa also said: “On this Day, God made a new Heaven and a new Earth. What is this new Heaven? It is the firmament of our faith in Christ Jesus. What is the new Earth? A good heart, a heart like the Earth, that drinks up the rain that falls on it and yields a rich harvest.” Friends, there we have it! Thank you for your attention. May God bless you all, and Happy Easter!